H.R. 4241, the budget reconciliation bill, contained a controversial provision that would have fundamentally rewritten national mining policy by ending a decade-long congressional ban on the sale of public lands to mining companies. These lands include Bureau of Land Management tracts and certain areas within national parks and forests. Many of them are now used for recreation, wildlife, fisheries or regional drinking water. Under the new provision, these same lands could be sold without public input or environmental review, and Americans who now enjoy them could see them privatized and closed. The lands would be not be required to be used only for mining but could be used for real estate development or other purposes.
Despite the opposition of environmentalists, the House, on November 18, 2005, approved H.R. 4241 by a 217-215 vote (House roll call vote 601). NO is the pro-environment vote. This provision was dropped during conference negotiations with the Senate.